Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

a Christmas table

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Posted by Rebecca, December 21st, 2010

This is my second turn at this tablescape game, since my first attempt was Thanksgiving. After my last run, I was inspired with so many new ideas.  I felt like there were a million things I could do, to the point where Mike told me to make up several options.  But I didn’t get a chance to finish up all of the crafts I had planned and when I set out to do this, I was stumped.  I had already put together our mantel, which was rather effortless, and I guess my creative juices were running dry.  It took a lot of rounds of changes, but I finally came up with something I was pleased with.

First, I bought this star shaped basket from Pier 1 a few weeks back.  I love using stars in my Christmas decorations, but I didn’t love the light color of the basket.

So I decided to spray paint it a darker brown.

I only did one coat so that some of the natural variation was still seen, then I put some ornaments in it.

I built my table area around this, using mostly candle type things to not take away from the pretty ornaments. Plus I didn’t want it to be too tall or too busy so that it can stay on the table as people eat, like our Thanksgiving tablescape did.

On each end, I used some star dishes I got from the dollar store and put a large green ornament in them to add some more green, since my Target runner is blue. I later saw these dishes at Pier 1 for $3. I’m not going to lie, I was hoping they were $10 so I could tell you I saved $9 on them, but I only saved $2.

Then I have the silver candle holders I used on my mantel (I replaced the mantel ones with wooden ones, Target was out of silver) and some in the same style that are blue.

One of those white candles on top is new and one is a few years old.  They are totally different colors of white when next to each other, but I think it’s interesting (and that’s what happens when you try to buy them 4 days before Christmas…)

Over on the buffet, I put my crooked coffee filer tree and some vases filled with ornaments and topped with sticks.

I’ve filled those vases with ornaments every year I’ve decorated for Christmas, but this year I wasn’t sure if I should put them on the mantel, table or buffet.  I tried them on the table, but I felt like with the star basket, I needed some shiny ornaments on this piece of furniture too!

All in all, I’m happy with how it turned out.  I gravitate towards the simple and clean and I think this conveys that better than my previous tablescape.

I’m thankful I have a large stash of neutral type candles that I can mix in when needed.  The round class tealight holders and the silver ornament candles definitely came in handy during my constant swapping!

Oh and there are some other new editions to the dining room this holiday season, but I will have to let Mike explain those to you. If I can get him to blog again.. 🙂

ps- I just noticed that I didn’t actually put plates on the table this time.  I will be sure to snap some pictures when it’s all set for Christmas dinner!

House’s first Christmas tree

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Posted by Rebecca, December 20th, 2010

Yesterday we finally assembled our first fake tree, our house’s first tree and our first tree as a married couple.  We decided to get a 9 foot tree and put it in our entryway.  I had my fears but so far, everything has worked out beyond wonderfully.

Once again, I’ll try to let the pictures (and Macky) tell the story of our new tree 🙂

The first smack

“OooH pretty lights!”

How gorgeous is he??

Not even decorated and already a preferred nap spot. +1 for fake tree!

My 4 year old beloved Target ornaments…

…Mixed with new Walmart aqua & green ornaments= new color scheme

Darwin modeling the tree while it’s in progress

Macky’s turn

Ornament tying assistant

My old tree topper, which is secured with a stick and a rubberband, since apparently fake trees have flimsy tops. -1 for fake tree!

Tada! I couldn’t fit the whole tree in a picture without opening the front door. It was cold.

A little staircase decoration

Simple, but I like it

View from the formal living room

View from above

View from below!

Tug of war

The tree won despite the fact that Macky’s nail got stuck in the ornament.  Says a lot for how I curled up each branch tip so the ornament wouldn’t come off!

Trying again.

Trying a new angle

Admiring momma’s hard work?

Surrendering.  For now.

I think I ended up putting nearly 200 ornaments on this big guy. I would have liked a wooden garland, since I love the star one I used on my fireplace. But since we decided to go with a large tree just this week, I couldn’t find any on the fly. I would love some dark wooden beads to make it a little more rustic.  For now, it’s simple, as my trees normally are, and we love it.  Cats included 🙂

Some tips for having a tree with cats around:

1. Make sure your tree is sturdy. We did a shake test before buying ours and the base may actually be heavier than that of a real tree.  Because of that, we didn’t feel like we had to tie it to the railing like we originally mentioned doing. We did put a rubber, no-slip mat under the base because we thought a towel would make the tree slide if they played under it.

2. Don’t buy an expensive tree skirt. I actually don’t like mine very much, but the cats think it’s a blanket. Anything you don’t want anyone sleeping on? Don’t buy it.

3. Watch out for dangers for little paws. I use the ornament ties instead of hooks and shatterproof ornaments.  I actually would have liked plastic ornaments just to be safe.  I want to make sure I don’t get any cut paws around here!

4. Don’t hang ornaments too low.  I’ve said this before and people automatically assume I have a half naked tree.  Scroll up for clarification. I don’t put any ornaments below the line of the first branches.  This is so that when the cats walk under it, they’re not walking into dangley things that they are going to be tempted to smack.

5. Secure your ornaments! This is perhaps the most important. With our real trees, I used to push the ornaments a few inches back on the branches, so they weren’t easily knocked off.  This year with our fake tree, the branches are bendable so after I put an ornament on, I curled up the tip of the branch so that the ornament couldn’t slide off.  This is why Macky couldn’t pull of that one ornament in the above picture 🙂

6. Use common sense.  This is like baby proofing. A tree that tips when something small walks into it? Bad.  Sharp objects? Bad. Tinsel? Bad on so many levels.

And see that? I think you can have a beautiful tree while having animals around. I followed all of my own rules and my tree doesn’t look so awful now does it? 😉

ps- if you have a real tree, make sure the kitties can’t drink the water or you don’t use any chemicals in the water if they can access it!

the Christmas mantel

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Posted by Rebecca, December 20th, 2010

We did most of our Christmas decorating today (Sunday, I know it’s after midnight so it’s technically Monday). But better late than never, right? On all accounts. So most of my posts this week will be Christmas related, which is quite appropriate, given that Christmas is indeed this week. I’m a blogging rebel 🙂

I put this mantel together about an hour ago.  I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.

You see what I did there?? I moved my coffee filter wreath from the dining room to over the fireplace using my handy dandy command hook.  We planned on hanging some frames over the fireplace by Christmas but yeah, that didn’t happen.  So I whipped up this solution and I actually like the wreath better here!

Some detail shots…

Yeah, I hot glued that star to the center of the mantel.  Mike told me to do it…no really, he did.

I was going to post a list of where everything is from, when I realized that the majority of things here are from Target.  And very few things here are new.

From Target:

Stockings

Initial pins on stockings

Stocking holders

Twine trees (which I totally could have made with a hanger and some twine)

All but 2 ornaments

Star garland

Silver candle holders

The fancy glittery twig things (I think they’re technically tree picks)

The only things on that list that were purchased this year were the trees and the candle holders.  Everything else is possibly 4 years old… including the garland.  I put it on the mantel because I didn’t have enough for our new 9 foot tree 🙁

Also included on the mantle are:

Sticks from my backyard

A “wish” sign from Kohl’s about 3 years ago

Silver ornament candles from Ikea

Round glass candle holders from the Crate and Barrel outlet

2 ornaments from Walmart

This was my first time putting together a mantel quite like this, since our tv used to be over our fireplace in our old place and I generally just stuck the round ornament candles under it.  But this was a lot of fun and I liked pulling things from around the house to make it complete.  And I got to use a lot of my old decorations that I couldn’t use on my giant tree this year 🙂

Oh and incase you were wondering what Macky was doing as I put this together…

He had a rough weekend, he had a seizure last night.  So you’ll be seeing a lot of pictures of him the next few days since I am being a completely overbearing momma and just looking at him makes me emotional. Plus he’s super cute when he’s mushy.

Just wait until you see him with the tree…:)

coffee filter tree

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Posted by Rebecca, December 15th, 2010

I mentioned in my coffee filter wreath post that I had also made a tree.  I picked up 4 of these foam cone forms from the craft store.

I first experimented with some fancy paper patterns, but they were far too time consuming.  In the end, I stuck with the same method as the wreath.

By the way, have you ever tried to remove something you’ve hot glued? My god those little rosette flowers I made were nearly impossible to rip off!

I just kept adding the filters until I ended up with this.

You can see the trimmings there in the back.  That was the first round of my scissor-handing.  This thing was so massive and ugly that I didn’t even think to take a picture of the before process.  I was just immediately thinking of how I could help this abominable snow/coffee filter tree.  Mike’s response? “What the heck happened at the top?” Well as you add the filters, suddenly you’re at the top, but the filters are still like 3 inches away from the point.  So you end up with flat top.  I knew this would happen because I had seen pictures of other coffee filter trees out there.  I guess I just thought it would be easier to trim down.  I did manage to do quite a bit of trimming.

I also stuck a floral wire, which I shaped into a point into the top of the foam to add a couple more inches to work with.  Then I stuck a star I had hanging around on the top to hide the awkward lack of pointy top.

I totally didn’t realize there was a chunk missing on the right until I took these pictures.  Whoops! You can’t tell in person, I promise 🙂

With the star on top and after staring at it for a couple of days, I like it much more.  I may still add some ribbon to it.

It still has that full and fluffy texture that I love about the coffee filter wreath.

I don’t think this is going to cut it as our only tree though.

10 days until Christmas. I should probably put a full sized tree there.

Excuse me, I must now go and trim that lump out of my coffee filter tree.  Looking at these pictures is driving me crazy.  No wonder why Mike doesn’t let me trim his hair….

RIP real tree

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Posted by Rebecca, December 14th, 2010

I may have stopped highlighting my hair, but there will be a new fake something to replace my ‘do.

Yes we did it.  We bought an impostor.  Never in a million years did I think I’d get a fake tree.  Just a few weeks ago I was complaining that everyone thinks that a candle will replace a real tree.  Mike and I really didn’t take this decision lightly, but our main motivator was that we wanted a tall tree.  We talked about the whole tradition aspect, the fun of going to pick out your own tree and we realized that well, the part we remember the most from our childhoods is waiting for the tree to ‘settle’ to put on the ornaments or waiting for our moms to first put on the lights before we could touch it.  So though we love the tradition of the real tree, we don’t necessarily feel that we will be robbing our children of the tree experience.  And really, what kid wouldn’t love a huge tree like the one we got? I think the size alone makes up for it.  If we didn’t want a tall tree, I’m pretty sure I’d still be a realist.

We went to 8 million stores tonight (when I should have been studying…) because no one has oversized trees left! We settled for a 9 footer, though I really wanted 10.  I even checked online and there were no affordable 10 foot trees. Home Depot had a single one left last night, but we went to 2 others and there were none.  Then we walked into Lowe’s and I spotted a very pretty 9 footer, which I actually thought was 10.  So I figured if I couldn’t tell the difference of that extra foot,  I’m sure no one else will.  Plus we will still have to add our topper!

Driving home, we reminisced about our real tree experiences.

Like how we used to cram our live trees into the trunk of my Cavalier..

That’s Cavy on her last day with me this past summer.  RIP buddy, I miss you.  How many people have a picture of their first car parked in front of their first house?  She served me well and when I traded her in, there were still pine needles in the trunk.

How we used to carry those trees up 3 very long flights of stairs…

I stole this off the MLS listings on Realtor.com, but that’s the outside of our old condo community.  It’s not our exact building, but we lived on the tippy top floor, opposite side of the door.  Hauling trees up there was not easy.  Even worse was carrying it down when it was half dead and dropping needles all over the shared foyer carpet.  Whoops.

The time Sunny got stuck in the tree net…

This sweet baby was the best behaved cat most of the time, but he was related to Macky.  So when we brought home our first tree and I was cutting the net off of it, he climbed in it and got stuck.  Where Macky would have panicked and ran all over the house, Sunny just gave up and collapsed on the floor, belly up, as I cut him free. Very scary at the time, but it’s one of our favorite Christmas memories.

The naked tree…

The first year we had a tree, I was cheap and I didn’t put ornaments on it until my favorite Target ones went on sale on the 26th.  We didn’t entertain for Christmas and at the time, we shared a street with Target.  So I ran there and stocked up at 75% off.  I still have those ornaments, topper and tree skirt and I am fully planning on using them this year.

The never ending kitten antics…

I hope our babies love the tree as much as they always have.  I just hope they sleep under it rather than stripping the branches of the needles, corn on the cob style.

Though I’m sure we can still expect loads of this…

From the staircase.  Macky will now have access to the entire tree and not just this little section.  We are doomed.

RIP Real Tree 1983-2010.

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